Miss Grace often welcomed her doctor, Tom Braddock, to join her for lunch at her “royal table.”
Grace Spencer Clark, 85, mother of our friend Norma Clark Atkins, died this morning. And one key member of the Greatest Generation quietly faded away.
Mrs. Clark was born September 3, 1924 in Houlka, Ms. She married Vernon L. Clark on February 16, 1945 and the young couple moved to West Point in 1955. She worked for more than 40 years at Harris & Riley Drug Company which later became Rose Drug Company.
Miss Grace was aptly named by her parents. Her zest for life was contagious, and friends from all walks of life joined her for lunch each day.
Miss Grace lost her leg when a melanoma threatened her life several years ago. However, she took it in stride, learned how to navigate the landscape in her wheel chair, and still spread joy and laughter wherever she went.
Her friend, Sara Roberts, who was among her frequent lunch guests, was in awe. “You know, many people in her situation would just retreat and feel sorry for themselves. Not Grace. She made this a place where we want to come.”
Roberts added that Grace would come down each morning and fold napkins for The Point (restaurant) and prepare the silver ware – a thankless job, but one she did joyfully.
She leaves hundreds of adoring friends she made over the years, especially during the past seven years since moving into the Henry Clay Retirement Center. She could be found each day at noon “holding court” at the big round table downstairs in the Point. Her friends nicknamed her the “Queen of the Henry Clay Hotel.”
The people seated around her table weren’t all senior citizens; some were politicians and community leaders. They were there to be a part of Grace’s court.
“The Henry Clay has been a godsend for her because she gets to visit with so many of her friends and customers from Rose Drug,” said Norma.
Miss Grace worked at the drug store (which adjoins the hotel) for some 40 years. She feels right at home and was active until just before Christmas when her melanoma returned. She elected not to undergo any further treatment so she could enjoy her final days with family and friends.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Calvary Baptist Church in West Point. Visitation is 5 – 8 p.m. Thursday at Robinson Funeral Home.